After a windy week on the West Coast, the TOUR heads back East to finish up the regular season.
The final week of the regular season takes place this week in Greensboro, North Carolina. It's the Wyndham Championship, played at Sedgefield Country Club. The Top 125 in the season-long FedExCup standings will make the Playoffs at week's end.
As the PGA TOUR takes back over, the cutline will return to top 65 and ties like we see most weeks. That mean a relatively low percentage will play all four rounds this week as the field is full at 156 golfers.
Sedgefield Country Club took over hosting duties in 2008 and it's barely changed at all since then.
The most obvious change over the years was switching from bentgrass to bermudagrass greens back in 2012. As for the length, they've added less than 15 yards over the years as it plays at 7,131 yards at a par of 70. A new tee box was added on No. 14 this year which can add up to 25 yards to that hole.
This Donald Ross design features its fair share of blind tee shots. The layout of the holes make it so driver is not really required all that much. Henrik Stenson was the ultimate case study in that regard as he won the 2017 edition without hitting a single driver.
Without the need for power, it becomes all about iron and wedge play this week while catching fire with the short game. Accuracy is a great tool to have on your belt this week but approach play is king.
Despite this course being a par 70, the scores get real low here. The winners have reached -21 or better in each of the last four editions played. With a stronger-than-usual field assembled this week, we should expect that 20+ mark yet again.
Going back to the topic of bermudagrass and accuracy, the bermuda rough is quite tough to gauge here. It becomes a lot of guesswork when it comes to dealing with flyers. The field averages right around 83 percent GIR from the fairways but just 53.5% when missing the short grass off the tee. This is why the course can stand the test of time and maintain it's yardage along the way. There is no need to add extra yardage if golfers are getting punished for errant tee shots.
Sifting through some past quotes, let's try to break down the course to see how it will play.
Ryan Moore: "It's a position golf course. It's not one you can just send driver down there all day. So guys that maybe have a 30, 40 yard advantage, you know, on me off the tee, you don't have that advantage around this golf course except around maybe a couple holes. I can reach both par 5s, so both of those are scorable for me. And if you're in the fairway, you can hit wedges at a lot of these pins."
Jordan Spieth: "it doesn't favor any player. I think you have to play to your spots, you have to hit quality golf shots, you've got to work it both ways on approach shots into greens just to hold it on the correct surfaces where they stick the pins. And then my favorite part about it is how fast and slopey these bermuda greens are."
Ryan Armour: "This golf course is always about hitting fairways. I think if you hit fairways, you can get to some of the hole locations. But out of the rough, especially ball's starting to knuckle a little bit, so you're catching some flyers. "
Keith Mitchell: "I’ve hit a lot of 2-irons off these tees to just try to get it in the fairway. The rough’s so gnarly out here that the fairway’s a priority. So we’ve been hitting a lot of little stinger 2-irons just trying to just get the ball in front of us. If you have a little extra club into the greens, it’s fine because you can definitely attack from the fairway but not from the rough."
Brandt Snedeker: "You definitely have to have a short iron game around here is really, really important. You got to think your way around here extremely well. You got to roll some putts in."
Overview: The players all talk about POSITION off the tee and comfort on BERMUDA.
Looking at grass types, geography, course attributes, and past performance, here are a few courses/events that I think could prove to be a good pointer this week:
Harbour Town (RBC Heritage)
Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo)
Colonial (Charles Schwab)
TPC Scottsdale (Phoenix)
TPC Summerlin (Shriners)
The theme this week is mostly less-than-driver courses and bermuda greens. That doesn't apply to all these courses but it's the most reoccuring elements.
Thursday: Patches of rain with a high of 85 degrees. Calm winds around 4-to-9 MPH.
Friday: Rain possible. High of 86 degrees. Calm winds around 4-to-9 MPH.
Golfers will get a big relief from the wind compared to last week at TPC Harding Park but they will still need to dodge the rain.